I know people that have been shot and survived. I know people that have been riddled with bullets and are walking breathing and loving today. I know people that have lived through gunshot wounds.
My dad did not. My brother did not.
Every night I try to wrap my head around this. When I got the phone call that my dad was shot I was worried, but I didn’t think he was dead. My dad was superman in my eyes. A gunshot wound could not take him down.
He let me down. He didn’t survive gun wounds that many before him and many after him have lived through. His death made me realize that no one is impervious to guns.
When I got the call about my brother I didn’t even have a chance to have hope. The caller told me straight up he didn’t survive. My brother was dead.
Unlike my dad that was able to have family members around him immediately after being taken to the hospital, my brother lay in the hospital for hours with no one.
I was the first of my family to know my brother was dead and I was the first to arrive at the hospital. I had to wait to see him. The hospital wasn’t able to contact family members and had to confirm that I knew him.
I had to wait just to see my brother’s dead body. When the doctor finally came to tell me what happened, I halfway listened. I just wanted to see my brother. At the end of her explanation of his death she asked did I want to wait until my mom arrived at the hospital to see him. I told her no. I needed to see him first.
Every night when I close my eyes I see the image of my brother with dried blood coming out of his nose and mouth.
I see my mother’s face when she arrives in front of the hospital and I tell her I will go park her car, cause I didn’t tell her that her son didn’t survive and I wasn’t strong enough to break the news to her.
I hear my mom crying — no, screaming — for her baby and yelling “who did this?!”
I see red, red, blood soaking through the white cover laid on top of my brother as my friends frantically look for another blanket to hide the stains from my mom.
I stay up every night until I’m too tired to function because I have night terrors. I can’t help but think about how I knew my brother was gone the moment I laid eyes on him lying there — alone — in that hospital room. I couldn’t feel life around him anymore although he looked like he was just sleeping.
My brother should not have lost his life. My dad should not have lost his life. Today is my 6th Father’s Day without my dad. Today was the first time I had to go through this day without my brother to help me get through it.
I can’t make sense of their deaths no matter how much I think or how much I write. It isn’t right and not meant to be sensible, it’s just senseless. Senseless death that has cost me and my family way more than the measly $30 my brother had on him that night.